The Editors's blog

Anonymous accusations: Why some comments have not been posted

Over the past two days we've received a couple of comments, on different stories, by anonymous commenters. We regularly publish the comments of folks who wish to remain anonymous, but in these two cases I have held the comments in the moderation queue. I want to explain why, and then offer some guidelines so that people who wish to do so can resubmit their comments.

Summary Statement: Special Forum on Sex Work, Trafficking and Human Rights

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Summary Statement: Special Forum on Sex Work, Trafficking and Human Rights


With the participation of over a dozen prominent sex worker advocates, researchers and writers, we've had a very productive week! If you're into numbers, during the forum we had about 4,000 visits from nearly 3,500 unique visitors for a total of nearly 10,500 page views. While the forum officially ends today, the forum topics will remain on the site and active so we can continue the conversations as we like.

The forum addressed a range of topics from labor rights to immigration, and from variations in individual experiences in sex work to the way that consumers in the sex industry are understood. We think that the following are some of the most important points to emerge from the discussions:

Special Forum: Sex Work, Trafficking and Human Rights - click on the banner to enter

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Forum topic posts will be shown here, on the front page, too!

Chris Hall reviews Robert Jensen's new book, "Getting off: Pornography and the end of masculinity"

book cover for getting off

When we were approached by Robert Jensen, by email, some months ago about reviewing his new book Getting off: Pornography and the end of masculinity, (South End Press, 2007), we were, admittedly, a bit puzzled. Surely he could tell from a cursory glance at this site that we were not likely to agree with his analysis of porn. Still, it seemed worthwhile to review the book, and worthwhile it has been. Here is an excerpt from Chris's review:

It’s not immediately obvious, but Robert Jensen and I have a lot in common. We both grew up as scrawny, physically inept boys with no aptitude for athletics. We were the kind of boys who were by default identified as “faggots” by our peers and, at least in my case, sometimes by teachers. On the playground and the streets, our status as “sensitive” boys made us easy targets for insults and physical abuse.
Most importantly, we both grew into men with deep dissatisfactions with what our society told us we were supposed to be, do, and think as men, and with an appreciation for feminism as a vital tool for both men and women to break free of old, potentially lethal gender scripts. And both of us can go on at length about what sucks about porn.
It’s this last point where the differences between Jensen and I become too obvious to ignore; yes, I can go on for hours and hours about what irredeemable psychic flotsam the great mass of porn is, and could probably fill several volumes thicker than Jensen’s on the mediocrity, body fascism, poor production values, labor abuses and sexism that dominate mainstream porn. These are all things that people of good conscience should find troubling about porn as it exists today. And yet, even as I calculate all the sins of pornography to the nth degree, and catalog the ways that I find it disappointing and trivial in taxonomies so detailed that the Library of Congress would have to invent a whole new indexing system, there’s something else: I think that in porn lies our salvation.

Click here to read the whole review!



Join our conversation with Pepper Schwartz


prime book coverThe conversation has begun.

Click here to join in.

You'll find our review of Prime and some early excchanges. As Pepper Schwartz says in her first comment here, her most important message is about the importnace of "enjoying our sensuality and sexuality all of our lives, and especially in our fifities, sixties and beyond!"

Are you a reader who can share your experience of sex and sensuality in our fifties, sixties and beyond? Mimi, that means you. And I know there are others! Or perhaps you are a reader anticipating that kind of experience in the future? Jump into the conversation! And men too -- don't be shy. After all, many of those experiences involve you!



Guest Appearance! Pepper Schwartz discusses her new book on Sex in the Public Square

Pepper Schwartz Come, talk about sex and older women with Pepper Schwartz!

Starting this weekend, Pepper Schwartz will join us for a discussion of her new book, Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex and Love in the Sensual Years.

Please join us!

Jeffrey Rosenfeld reviewed the book for us here. We'd especially love to hear from people who have read the book, but all are welcome.

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a noted sociologist specializing in sexuality. She has written over 40 academic research articles, and also many accessible books on sex and relationships including, including The Great Sex Weekend and Everything You Know About Sex and Love is Wrong, along other books aimed at helping people keep their sexual relationships interesting and vibrant. She has also written Ten Talks Parents Must Have With Their Children About Sex and Character and 201 Question to Ask Your Kids / 201 Questions to Ask Your Parents, books that help parents talk about sex with their kids, Pepper Schwartz has dedicated her career to opening up sexuality as a realm of sociological study, but also to making that study useful and accessible to the public. In Prime, she does something academic-types rarely do under their own names: she reveals much about her own sex life, using her own experience as a prompt to offer advice to herself and to other women experiencing the dating and relationship-building world in their 50s.

This conversation marks the beginning of a new feature for us here in the Square. We're initiating a series of conversations with authors of the books we review, and we're thrilled that Pepper Schwartz has agreed to kick off the series for us.

The conversation will take place in the comments section of Jeff Rosenfeld's review. When we start, I'll put a direct link to the conversation on the sidebar of the site so you can get there quickly!




New forum on age of consent laws


Genarlow Wilson's case, which is back in the news because he has been freed finally, makes us think this is a good opportunity to get smart people thinking about the problems with age of consent laws.

We've opened a new forum and we invite you to join in the discussion. Right now its wide open. Anybody want to dive in? Click here to join the discussion 

For past coverage of the Wilson case on Sex in the Public Square, click here.


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